Malaysia’s international reputation has been sullied enough by Zahid’s infamous letter to FBI and Najib must step in to clean up the mess or he would be no different from “Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns”
On 5th January 2015, I said “The strange case of the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi writing a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) vouching for the integrity of an alleged gambling kingpin has become ‘curiouser and curiouser’”.
I do not think anyone would have expected that ten days later, this strange case of Zahid’s letter to the FBI and the Zahid-Phua-Shafee-Khalid quadrilateral tangle would become “curiouser, curiouser and even more curiouser”!
There was first the attempted clarification by Zahid claiming that his infamous letter to the FBI vouching for the character of the alleged gambling kingpin Paul Phua Wei Seng - asserting that Phua was a national asset for having helped the Malaysian government on “projects affecting our national security” and pleading for Phua’s release as “we continue to call upon him to assist us from time to time and as such, we are eager for him to return to Malaysia” - was merely to confirm that the “14K triad” did not exist in the country.
As I said at the time, Zahid would have failed his comprehension test in school if he really believed what he said about his infamous letter to the FBI.
Furthermore, all who believed Zahid’s infamous letter to the FBI was merely to confirm that the “14K triad” did not exist in the country would have also failed their comprehension tests in school as well.
In fact, Zahid has raised more questions than answers.
Firstly, it would appear that Zahid knew what the Inspector-General of Police and the police did not – that Phua had helped the Malaysian government on “projects affecting our national security” and that the Malaysian government was “eager” for Phua’s return to Malaysia so as to enable the Malaysian government to “continue to call upon him to assist us from time to time”.
What are these “projects affecting our national security” which Phua had rendered to the Malaysian government, how many of them, and why is it that the IGP and the police are completely unaware that Phua had been a “national asset”?
Furthermore, what are the “projects affecting our national security” which the Malaysian government is eagerly waiting for Phua’s return to Malaysia so as to call on him for assistance?
Malaysians and MPs from both sides of the House must be very concerned that there are “national security projects” which the IGP and the Police are totally unaware of, which are privy only to the Home Minister?
Does the Home Ministry run a private police or army, since he seems to be able to conduct “national security projects” completely outside the ken of the IGP and the police?
Zahid was appointed Home Minister on 16th May 2013 after the 13th General Elections. In his 20 months as Home Minister, how many such “national security projects” had he been involved in which the IGP and the police knew nothing about?
In this connection, let the former Home Ministers, like Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Dato' Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad , Datuk Azmi Khalid and even Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi declare whether they had been involved in any such “national security projects” which the IGP and the police at the time were not privy to at all.
The second episode was the sudden interest of the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the case, when he told a media conference on Monday that the Cabinet did not discuss Zahid’s infamous letter to FBI at the first Cabinet meeting of the year on January 7, although it had already become the first scandal of the Najib premiership in the new year.
Muhyddin did not explain why he or no other Minister had raised the issue in Cabinet, but said that “any further elaboration of the matter would come after he had studied the issue at hand”.
He also made the startling statement that he was not aware of the differing versions being aired about Phua's case by the latter's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar – although the literate population of Malaysia had been agog about this discrepancy and Zahid’s infamous letter to FBI since the beginning of the new year.
The third “curiousest” incident came yesterday after the Cabinet meeting when Malaysiakini at 4 p.m. carried a report that the Foreign Minister, Datuk Anifah Aman had told a press conference that the Cabinet had heard Zahid’s explanation on his “confidential letter” to the FBI to clear the name of Phua, and the Cabinet agreed to accept his explanation.
No further details were forthcoming from Anifah on what was Zahid’s explanation, as the Foreign Minister told reporters to ask Zahid himself about the explanation.
This led me to post four tweets, viz:
- Said Foreign Minister Anifah Musa but he no details! http://goo.gl/DtOBsh Cabinet accepts Zahid's kingpin letter explanation - Lee Long Hui (Mkini)
- "We listened to explanation put forward by him and we had agreed to accept explanation given". Who moved/seconded such motion? Any vote? result?
- Or has Malaysian Cabinet become a gone case, nothing to be hoped from it? Malaysians deserve a more decent explanation on Zahid-Phua-Shafee-Khalid tangle!
- PM Najib must speak up as leader of Cabinet and must bear full responsibility. If Cabinet accepts explanation, let Najib say so and explain!
Later, Malaysiakin reported that Wisma Putra clarified that the Cabinet did not “accept” the explanation but merely heard it.
I have heard the KiniTV recording of Anifah’s original comment, where he clearly said:
"Kita telah pun mendengar penjelasan diutarakan oleh beliau dan kita telah pun setuju menerima penjelasan-penjelasan yang telah pun diberikan."
So it was not Malaysiakin’s fault. Was Anifah forced to rectify what he had correctly told the press conference earlier?
What is noteworthy is that the Foreign Minister had kept mum about Zahid’s letter to the FBI claiming that the early release of Phua would further “good international relations between our two countries especially in the exchange of information”.
Anifah should explain whether the continued arrest and trial of Phua for illegal gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada would jeopardize the “good international relations” between Malaysia and the United States, “especially in the exchange of information”.
The Anifah episode in the Zahid-Phua-Shafee-Khalid quadrilateral tangle has not brought any clarity but only further muddied the waters.
Malaysia’s international reputation has been sullied enough by Zahid’s infamous letter to FBI and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak must step in to clean up the mess or he would be no different from “Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns”